WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The American Red Cross in Kansas and Oklahoma deployed 34 volunteers to the Gulf Coast in response to Hurricane Laura.

Officials say that around nine volunteers from the KSN viewing area will either have boots on the ground or will be providing virtual relief.

“We have been preplanning for this type of event for the last several months because this isn’t the first hurricane and unfortunately it won’t be the last,” said Deb Tucker, interim disaster program manager.

It is anticipated that more than 700 Red Cross volunteers and staff from across the nation will be sent to the Gulf Coast to assist in disaster preparedness and recovery.

Tucker says Red Cross volunteers have been going through training to help them maneuver relief to patients who could have COVID-19.

“We have been training up for this all across the nation and also going through different types of training knowing that we have COVID to deal with,” said Tucker.

She says many relief shelters will also look different.

“We are trying to do what we call non-congregate meaning that we use more facilities like hotels so we can keep families separate especially during COVID,” said Tucker. “Where you might have had a shelter that housed 100 people there’s probably going to be 50.”

Officials say people’s food will need to be individually prepared and be taken to their room.

The American Red Cross will also be taking people’s temperatures, handing out face masks and keep people socially distant.

According to the American Red Cross, those who will be providing virtual relief will be working closely with that area’s elected officials.

“To tell them what the Red Cross is doing in their area and what relief efforts we have and then just to see if they need any other support.” Shannon Wedge, executive director of American Red Cross. “If we can do some virtual meetings, we definitely are trying to do that and not put the community and our workforce at risk”

If you would like to contribute to the American Red Cross, you can do so by vising RedCross.org, calling 1(800) Redcross or texting Laura, Marco to 90999. For more information about the American Red Cross, click here.